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The government has insisted it has “robust” security systems in place, following reports that secret documents detailing trade talks between the UK and US were stolen from former trade secretary Liam Fox.
On Monday, Reuters reported suspected Russian hackers had accessed Fox’s emails multiple times last year.
Fox is currently the UK’s nominee to lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The documents, which were leaked, were seized upon by Jeremy Corbyn during the 2019 election campaign as proof Tories were hatching a trade deal with Donald Trump to “sell off” the NHS to American private health and drug firms.
There is no suggestion that Labour was in any way involved in the original leak of the papers.
Dominic Raab announced last month that the UK’s intelligence assessment was that “Russian actors” – a way of describing hostile hackers as opposed to Moscow’s intelligence agencies – had “almost certainly” sought to interfere in the election by “amplifying” the documents online.
A government spokesperson said today: “There is an ongoing criminal investigation into how the documents were acquired, and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this point.
“But, as you would expect, the government has very robust systems in place to protect the IT systems of officials and staff.”
Fox served as international trade secretary from July 2016 until July 2019, having previously been the defence secretary. The former cabinet minister has been contacted for comment.
Parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) recently accused the government of being too slow to recognise the potential threat posed by Russia to British democratic processes.
The committee said ministers did not properly consider whether Moscow could interfere in the Brexit referendum until after the event.
The ISC report found that the government “took its eye off the ball” of the Russian threat, underestimated its dangers and was “still playing catch-up” on attempted manipulation of British democracy.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.